BMDS Checks In To “Fawlty Towers”

January 7, 2011

1-fawlty-towers-wikiDon’t mention “Fawlty Towers” — unless you’re in the mood for an upcoming Bermuda Musical & Dramatic Society production which cuts extremely close to the funny bone.

Following on from the success of its adaptation of scripts from the Britcom “Dad’s Army” last year, the BMDS will be staging a portmanteau production of three episodes from the classic 1975-79 John Cleese TV series at its Daylesford Theatre from February 28-March 12. Box office details will be announced closer to the date of the show’s opening.

“It’s the British situation comedy by which all other Britcoms are still measured,” said a BMDS spokesman. “It was created and written by by John Cleese — the former member of the Monty Python troupe and a future Oscar nominee for his ‘Fish Called Wanda’ screenplay — and his then-wife Connie Booth.

“The series remains a timeless comic gem about a dysfunctional family-run hotel in the south of England where the decor is as stale as the dining room food — and the humour is as scorching as the grease-encrusted stove which keeps threatening to burn the property down. ”

“Fawlty Towers” was famously inspired by a scathingly rude hotel proprietor John Cleese encountered while filming on location with the Monty Python team.

Unwittingly, the Torquay hotelier provided the template for Basil Fawlty — the embodiment of a neurotic, frustrated, meanspirited Englishman who also happens to be the Edmund Hillary of social climbing.

The show is set in a once genteel sea-side hotel fallen upon reduced circumstances where Fawlty’s maladroit attempts to inject a touch of class into the shabby surroundings invariably rebound on him, his staff and his guests.

“Not The Um Um” veteran Bruce Barritt will be filling the towering John Cleese’s extra-large shoes in the role of Basil Fawlty while Laura Bardgett takes on the role of his long-suffering but equally idiosyncratic wife Sybil (nicknamed “My little pirahna fish” by her spouse).

Rounding out the four central roles from the show are Rebecca Payne as Polly (played by Connie Booth in the show) — an art student who works part-time at the hotel and who is usually called upon to restore order to the chaos her employer has created; and Jym Brier as Manuel, the long-suffering Spanish waiter whose grasp of English is every bit as inexact as Basil Fawlty’s understanding of graciousness and hospitality.

Bermudian stage virtuouso Gavin Wilson — set to appear in Florida later this month in his one-man Mark Twain show – is cast as the besotted and perpetually bewildered Major Gowen, a full-time resident of the hotel.

“Fawlty Towers” is being directed by Nicola Wilkinson who also helmed the standing room only ”Dad’s Army” adaptation at Daylesford. Adrienne Hintz is producing.

The three scripts from the series’ 12-episode run being tailored for the Daylesford stage are “The Hotel Inspectors”, “Communication Problems” and “Basil the Rat”, John Cleese’s personal favourite.

Anyone interested in volunteering to work on the production in a backstage capacity can contact Adrienne Hintz at

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Comments (2)

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  1. Shrew de treez says:

    In fawlty towers who do you have to play the war veterian in Manuel the rat? I watched the whole season of fawlty towers last October and Laugh laugh laugh one of Cleeese’s great works. I need Tickets Bad!!!

    • bernews says:

      As is mentioned in the story, Bermudian actor Gavin Wilson plays the part of war veteran Major Gowen.